Elegant Abstract Background

Sources: Brittanica.com and www.berkeley.edu

History

Scene of Horror:
East St. Louis Massacre

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"Get a N***** was the slogan shouted"

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The East St. Louis Massacre, also referred to as the East St. Louis Race War by survivors was a horrific three-day act of violence against Black people that occurred from July 1-3, 1917 in East St. Louis, Illinois. Between 39 and 100 African Americans were murdered, and another 6,000 left homeless. It is believed that this shameful event was catapulted by a labor dispute in late May of that year, when the mainly white-employed Aluminum Ore Company went on strike, and hundreds of Black workers were hired as replacements. Angry white workers filed complaints against Black workers with the City Council.

     Soon after, a rumor spread claiming that a white man was killed by a black man which helped to ignite the hatred of white locals to enact the July events. Whites began brutally attacking any Black people they came across. Mobs beat, vandalized, and dragged people into the streets and burned their homes. Police shut down the bridge leaving Black citizens with no escape. Some tried in desperation to jump into the Mississippi River to swim across, and drowned. In other parts of the city Black people were being lynched. Survivors say, "Get a N*****" was the slogan that was being shouted by the crazed mobs. and the after-effects are still felt in East St. Louis, Illinois today.